The Islanders are heading into the Big Apple to face their archrivals, the New York Rangers. Coming off back-to-back shootout wins (courtesy of Frans Neilsen and his patented forehand-backhand-top shelf move), the young Isles team is carrying a bit of momentum into the World’s Greatest Arena. They are playing with more confidence and finding ways to win hockey games.
This is a good thing. Because they will need every ounce of momentum, confidence, skill, (and maybe even a little luck) to leave Madison Square Garden with 2 points against the Rangers in tonight’s contest.
The Rangers (with 3 games in hand) are currently tied for 2nd in the Atlantic Division with the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they each have managed 42 points so far this season.
For the second game in a row the Islanders took their opponent to a shootout. This time, it was the Winnipeg Jets.
The Islanders got off to a quick start when PA Parenteau put them on the board, but it would be a back and forth battle as the Jets' Nik Antropov would deflect a shot from the point to tie it up at 1.
Onto the second period, Michael Grabner tapped in the rebound of a Travis Hamonic shot to give him his 10th goal of the season and the Islanders the lead once again. But, the Jets would tally right back when Andrew Ladd slaps one past Al Montoya to tie the game at two.
When you think of the New York Islanders and associate the word "injury" to their name, you automatically think of all the man-games lost by this team over the past few years and immediately think of the infamous Rick DiPietro. But right now, the injury bug is starting to bite in places other than the 15-year man's knees.
Brian Rolston was placed on the Injured Reserve retroactive to Dec 15th due to a concussion he sustained during the team's 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars this passed Thursday. He left the game and did not return and has not played since.This has allowed Nino Niederreiter to return to the line-up without their having to be any major changes to the roster.
Other players, like Tim Wallace, have been getting extra playing time as well. Although Wallace has previous NHL experience with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he really hasn't been all that impressive.
(Photo Credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr)
Part of the plan for the slow and steady rebuild was to have a talented pool of prospects to develop going forward; some of those prospects would make an impact on the immediate future of the team, while others would eventually follow suit down the line.
Slow and steady.
One of those players that might end up turning into an absolute gem is Anders Lee. Lee was taken in the 6th round by the Islanders in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at 152nd overall. So far in 20 games with Notre Dame, Lee has 12 goals and eight assists for 20 points in 20 games played, placing him second in scoring on the team.
The Islanders headed into Minnesota to face one of the NHL's best teams, the Minnesota wild.
The Islanders had two players return from injury; one being forward Nino Niederreiter and the other being defenseman Andrew MacDonald. MacDonald being the player making the most noise last night scoring the first (and only) goal for the Isles in the second period.
But the Wild would score just one as well, but a miracle that they did not score more. The reason for them scoring only one was the reason the Islanders ultimately won this game...
The New York Islanders will take on the Minnesota Wild tonight. The Islanders have been playing well lately, staying in every game they’ve played since breaking their long losing streak almost a month ago. Despite a 4-0-2 stretch which saw the young Isles climb back up the standings, their most recent games, regardless of their improved play, have not yielded the type of success they have needed in the standings. They have walked away from recent games where 2 points was well within their grasp.
There are many stages to a rebuild, and the Islanders seem to be on the right track for a slow, steady, and successful one. We saw this season during their long losing streak, that unlike last season when they took the ice for each game with a look of despair, that this team comes out of the locker room hungry and expecting to win every time they play.
The next lesson that this young group needs to learn is simple: Finish Games.
The New York Islanders will welcome the Dallas Stars to Nassau Coliseum this evening to conclude the season series between the teams. Dallas, the current Pacific Division leaders, has exhibited some streaky form of late. Their 35 points, however, leave them eleven points better than the struggling Isles, though New York has played one fewer game.
Fresh off of 1-0 shutout of a the New York Rangers, coupled with some recent unsteadiness in the New York crease makes Dallas a significant favorite tonight.